Maple and Bacon Popcorn for Film Season

popcorn2I apologise one again for my lack of Internet presence over the festive period. I filled my days with Christmassy cooking crafting all of which I was to impart to my (limited) readership. Unfortunately, as is often the way, the time I spent doing these activities slightly ate into the time I was supposed to spend writing about them. Oh well, my blog posts, like the half-price decorations being snatched up all over the country, shall have to wait until next year.

My first recipe of the new year is a simple one but none-the-less delicious and cost effective. Especially for those of you who are, like me, indulging in a fit of cinema going, occasioned by the reappearance of slightly watchable films. From June to January there is a serious dearth of exciting cinema, and suddenly, as award season looms, like buses, all the good films come at once. As a result, this week I have been to the cinema twice in two days and I fully expect to do so again in the near future.

popcorn1If this habit is to continue, however, I will have to re-evaluate my snacking habits. Usually I like an Ice cream for the adverts and beginning followed by a small bucket of sweet and salty mixed popcorn, all washed down with a coke. Unfortunately, two nights of this would blow my food budget for the entire week (and my post-christmas diet obviously). As such I decided to have a go at making my own snacks for all those cinema lovers out there who don’t fancy paying four pounds for what is essentially a bag of sweet or salty air. Read on for my recipe for delicious maple syrup and bacon popcorn (and little overview of the films I saw, for anyone who is interested).

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Homemade Pesto

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Herbs are a bit of a nightmare if you don’t grow them yourself. I can see that. I do try to use dried herbs as much as possible as they are cheaper but sometimes the real thing is just so much better. One herb I always seem to buy fresh is Basil, it just works so well as a pick-me-up for any italian style dishes. Unfortunately it also seems to last about one hour from opening the packet until the leaves are all brown and mushy.

Pesto2This is why, whenever I have a bit of basil left over, I make some home-made pesto. It can be the tiniest bit in the world but pesto goes pretty far and although making it yourself might seem a faff, it uses up any old basil that would have gone to waste and it almost preserves it so you can get its flavour in to future dishes. Also, although I love sacla as much as the next guy, homemade does taste so much better than the stuff you get from the supermarket.

Pesto3Sorry the measurements aren’t particularly specific for this one. This is because it is really down to personal preference. Here I have gone simple, only using basil and pine nuts but often I use walnuts too or I add a couple of handfuls of rocket if I have any left overs. Another great tip is to add some roasted courgette, this gives great flavour and makes for a silkier more voluptuous pasta sauce.

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Cheaper Mushroom Risotto

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Summer is officially over. An anger has been sweeping over me slowly for the past week. I’m pretty pissed off that nobody asked my permission, or at least warned me, before the drizzle set in. Goodbye pipe dreams of bbqs and drinking in the park, hello slightly unflattering winter coat and depression.

On a lighter note, however, this means diets are out and over eating is in, let the gluttony begin! I can’t start on the pies just yet though because I am off on holiday next week. I’m not a big fan of flash diets but however shit the weather, serious pastry chomping cannot start until after the beach season, unfortunately.

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In my predicament, I turned to risotto. This is perfect comfort food, it is quick and warming. I ran in from the rain the other night and popped this on the stove as I went upstairs to peel off my wet clothes. I ate it piping hot, each forkful scolding my mouth on the way down. It is creamy, earthy, mushroomy deliciousness!

mushroom risotto 3Normally when I make mushroom risotto I use dried porcini mushrooms to make stock but joy of joys this crappy weather has coincided with the week before pay day. Thus this recipe is a slightly cheaper version than my usual but still equally, if not more, delicious.

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A Sweet Potato/ Butternut Squash and Lentil Salad

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Recently I have been very confused. The weather is a nightmare. We have been having a lot of that sort of rain that doesn’t really fall from the sky but just hangs there, midair. There is a real predicament about umbrella usage in this type of weather. No one wants to be the idiot with an umbrella up when it’s not raining but equally you don’t want to walk around holding an umbrella but not using it. My walk to work the other morning was farcical, umbrella up, umbrella down, my arms were knackered by the time I got there. There is a constant worry about what to wear, whenever you I go out the weather decides to change entirely about 30 seconds after I have left the house!

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Equally baffling is the question of what to eat in this sot of weather. Thunder storms conjure up images of stews or jacket potatoes but guaranteed as soon as you start cooking the sun will come up and you’ll fancy a salad and a glass of wine. This recipe is my solution to confusing British weather, it is both warming and light and requires very little effort.

spI usually make this dish with Butternut Squash but this time I decided to mix it up a bit and use a sweet potato. This is so much easier as one sweet potato is the perfect size for one. I also chose it because sweet potatoes seem to be very fash at the moment, they are everywhere as chips alongside that other food fad du jour, the burger. Also, sometimes when I make this I mix the lentils with some salad leaves to give it more body. This is not necessary, the salad is entirely delicious on its own. Continue reading

AMAZING Eggs for Brunchers

P1030168If you are anything like me, Saturdays call for lazy mornings in the kitchen accompanied by good food, great music and even greater dance moves. Saturday breakfast is one of the best things civilisation has given us, but in the last few years it has morphed into a new strange, unplaceable meal called brunch.  The reasoning behind brunch is as follows: we are all either fucked from the night before or just unashamedly lazy and can’t call this meal breakfast because we’re eating it at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. I am usually not a fan of portmanteau words in the vain of “kimye” or “frenemy” but I am pretty chillaxed about this one because it has become so much part of our culture that it has adopted its own space in our language.

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I like brunch, it sanctions laziness and it tastes good. You can do anything you want with brunch, it is the perfect combination of amazing breakfast things, that we wish we could eat all day, and more substantial lunchy stuff that properly fills you up. Take these eggs for instance, they are far to rich for early morning fare but they taste amazing and are, therefore, perfect for brunching. They are also really quick to make, unlike a full english, so you can get on with your day. Today my music of choice was Jimi Hendrix, the god that is, but I was barely half way through the album by the time I had cooked eaten and cleaned up!

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Quiches Lorraine

This post is dedicated to my boyfriend, the least culinary person I know, who was forced, by me, to try quiche lorraine a few months ago and who now, unsurprisingly, loves it!

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I’m back at home, Hooray! I now have access to a clean kitchen with surfaces used for cooking rather than storing the last month’s dirty washing up. I decided to celebrate my return to culinary bliss by cooking something proper, something that cannot be made in a kitchen the size of a postage stamp with two pans and a baking tray.

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This quiche is super simple and very cost effective, you can get around 8 portions from it meaning its perfect for a weekend lunch with family or friends and will still probably leave you with leftovers for lunch during the week.

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Spaghetti with Sausage Meatballs

It’s that time of year again for students, everything is up in the air. Either you are manically cramming as much information into your overstuffed brains as is humanly possible, and if this is the case you are probably eating week-old Chinese takeaway, or you are finally finished with uni work and are celebrating by spending at least two weeks in an alcohol induced coma. In any case cooking is not at the top of most people’s lists of priorities.

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